Playing with puppets was a little bit awkward, but it paid off.
My writing buddy came over for lunch on Sunday, and fortunately, she’s the kind of bright, cheerful person who is willing to try anything. So even though I felt like a fool for asking, I knew she’d probably give the puppet play a work.
Anyone who has played dollies in the past (or with figurines) knows how it goes. I had my friend read the prequel to my current WIP so she’d get a feel for Thom and Nixie, the characters who were giving me problems. Then I said, “You be Thom, and I’ll be Nixie.” And we played.
After one slip-up, I gave her free reign with the character – it’s not productive to say to your partner, “No, he doesn’t act like that.” The point is to figure out things your own brain can’t think up. I can play the scene later by myself and make the character “do it right”. But my friend was very kind. After her short joke about, “That’s not how you play dollies,” I tried to stuff my judgement (my inner censor) back into its box.
And, so we played for a few minutes, until the scene ended. Then we watched some TV, had a snack, and traded roles.
My friend asked, “Is this really helpful for you?” Twice. The first time, I wasn’t sure. I said, “I don’t know, but it was fun. Thank you for helping me!” The second time, I knew I’d gotten some insight into my characters. I discovered that even my leprechaun attaches a special cultural significance to gold (and it might even have some biological roots) that doesn’t match the way other species feel about gold. And I discovered that Nixie’s feelings for gold were about honor and promises – gold was a signifier and a symbol, but not particularly valuable in itself.
And lo and behold, I woke up on Monday, enthusiastic and ready to write. I’m still struggling with some problems (some of them logistical – why does December have to be so jam-packed full of things to do?), but I am moving forward. The writing block is starting to shift!
Speaking of busy Decembers, my husband brought home two puppies this week. A multi-colored, shy little boy with charming eyes, and a curious and active black-and-white little girl. My suggestion of Rex and Priscilla was shot down immediately. My youngest said, “Let’s name them Momoe and Kenji!” Which just didn’t ring any bells for the rest of us.
Right now, we’re calling them Nana (a girl’s name, and #7) and Hachi (a unisex #8). Phillip and Angelica? Max and Daisy? Oopsie and Poopsie? (God, I hope they grow out of the Oopsie and Poopsie stage soon!)
Our oldest won’t be home until almost New Year’s Eve, so we’re trying to wait until then, but I’m finding it very difficult to have family members with no names . . . . Got any ideas? Share ‘em in the comments! I’ll let you know what we decide in 2017.
Hey . . . the thought just occurs to me. Maybe I can get my husband to play Puppy Theater with my next story problem. “Oh, Poopsie, you’ve brought the gold! Darling, thank you. But where’s the rest of it?” “Well, Oopsie, maybe we could sneak in and widdle all over Jack’s share until he doesn’t want it anymore.” “Kind and brilliant! Poopsie, I love you your scheme.” (Aside from Poopsie: “Hah! It’s a short step from ‘I love your scheme’ to ‘I love you’! My plan is working!”)
Hmmm, now, all I have to do is figure out the translation of “widdle” from puppy-ese to Bae-World.
LOL, there you go, strategy #3: playact your parts out loud and see what happens. Tear down the block, build up the love!
If you missed it, here’s the link to Strategy #1 (haiku and limericks! Feel free to leave some in the comments — we’re still reading them). https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/12/03/michaeline-lets-have-fun-with-writers-block-strategy-1/ And here’s the link to Strategy #2 (making finger puppets — combine the visual with the emotional aspects of your imagination). https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/12/10/michaeline-lets-have-fun-with-writers-block-strategy-2/